Splits showing up in planed red oak? I know it's open pored but come on.

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Forum topic by sasseriansection posted 04-30-2012 06:29 PM 1572 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View sasseriansection's profile


5 posts in 2397 days

04-30-2012 06:29 PM

Bought some rough 4/4 red oak a couple weeks ago. And while most of it planed nicely to 3/4” without much issue, there was a pretty long section (4 ft out of an 8ft board) that showed splits and gaps as soon as they were planed, but were not visible when in the rough.

Here's some images

Some of the slits go all the way through, at least a good 1/16” wide. Others only seem to be through half of the thickness.

So I guess the questions are
a) Pretty sure it’s just this board, as the other 20bdft of red oak from the same place is fine. But is there anything I could have done that could have caused this? This is my first experience with red oak, I usually stick with ash, maple or walnut and have not had this issue previously.

b) Is there any fix for this, either the surface splits or the straight through splits? Granted red oak isn’t too expensive, but I hate to toss 4 feet of material.

6 replies so far

View rhett's profile


742 posts in 3694 days

#1 posted 04-30-2012 06:39 PM

That is case hardening, it is caused when wood is cooked too fast in a kiln. Relatively stable but unsightly.

-- Doubt kills more dreams than failure.

View sasseriansection's profile


5 posts in 2397 days

#2 posted 04-30-2012 07:55 PM

I figured it was kiln related since it did look like while the wood was shrinking it pulled itself apart.

Is there any solution to it if I want to use this lumber in a project? Pore filling, patches, milk curds, dryer sheets, etc?

View hairy's profile


2720 posts in 3559 days

#3 posted 04-30-2012 09:14 PM

That has happened to me with kd red oak. Usually I am able to put glue in the crack and it is hard to tell it was cracked. I have knocked red oak off of my workbench and it cracked when it hit the floor.

-- My reality check bounced...

View pintodeluxe's profile


5706 posts in 2840 days

#4 posted 04-30-2012 09:23 PM

1+ on drying green lumber too fast.
That is why I air dry first, then kiln dry in a dehumidification kiln.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View Scsmith42's profile


125 posts in 2704 days

#5 posted 05-01-2012 05:50 PM

That is not case hardening – that appears to be honeycomb which can result from case hardening. Case hardenened lumber is not always honeycombed, however honeycombed lumber is usually case hardened.

Honeycomb typically results from drying lumber too quickly in the initial stages of the drying process – from green down to 35% moisture content.

There are often other sources of this situation in red oak though.

Checks in the center of flat sawn boards can also result from lumber that becomes rewetted while air drying. An example of this would be flat sawn boards located on the top of a stack of lumber that is air drying, and the boards experience rewetting throughout a year or so (i.e they get rained on).

Additionally, I have seen red oak boards that were properly dried in a kiln, yet a portion of a few boards in the kiln run developed internal checking. This is usually due to a condition called “Bacterial wetwood” which is not uncommon in red oak, and the cellular condition causes the wood to dry more slowly or have a higher initial moisture content. Typically red oak that contains bacterial wetwood is much more pungent than normal red oak.

Bottom line – it wasn’t anything that you did wrong.

-- Scott, North Carolina,

View dhazelton's profile


2771 posts in 2323 days

#6 posted 05-01-2012 06:14 PM

At the very least, rip it down to a couple of narrower useable boards. No need to toss the whole thing out, is there?

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